As the days get warmer, we tend to spend a lot of time outside with friends and family cooking out, swimming, or just enjoying the general outdoors.
While it is wonderful to get outside and soak up some rays, it is also important to remember to protect yourself from the sun. Ultraviolet rays from the sun are one of the primary causes of skin cancer.
Skin cancer doesn't discriminate when it comes to skin color. Though people with lighter skin colors may be more susceptible, the sun's UV rays can cause cellular damage all the same.
How to identify skin cancer
Always be on the look out for changes in your skin. This can be a change in an old growth, an entirely new growth, or a sore that doesn't heal. Don't forget that skin cancer can form inside the mouth as well!
Skin cancer can take several appearances such as:
A thick, jagged scar
Smooth, waxy bump
Firm red lump
Dark, black bump (may be waxy or shiny)
Dark patch on the palm or bottom of the foot
Dark band underneath the fingernail
If you are concerned about a change in your skin, consult with your doctor. They can offer advice and test for possible cancer.
How to protect yourself from skin cancer
The best method of preventing skin cancer is staying out of the sun when it's UV rays are strongest. This is the time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Obviously, this course of action is not always an option. For those times when you will be outside between 10 a.m and 4 p.m., wear protective clothing such as long sleeve shirts, pants and hats. Also consider wearing sunglasses that filter UV rays to protect your eyes and the skin around them. For those exposed parts of your body use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15.
It is important to completely avoid tanning beds, tanning booths or sunlamps as these can increase your risk of skin cancer massively.
Sunshine Home Care is an Altus, OK home health agency serving most of Western Oklahoma. For more information on our agency, contact us or visit our About Us page.